World Cup 2022: England fans in Qatar will be able to drink traditional ales onboard cruise ship pub
There is zero tolerance for drugs-related offences in Qatar. The penalties for the use of, trafficking, smuggling and possession of drugs (even residual amounts) are severe. Punishment can include lengthy custodial sentences, heavy fines and deportation.
Some prescribed and over the counter medicines may be controlled substances in Qatar. If you need to bring in controlled/prescription medication into Qatar, ensure you carry your official doctor’s prescription, hospital note or a letter from your GP, detailing the drug, the quantity prescribed and dosage.
It is an offence to drink alcohol or be drunk in public. British nationals have been detained under this law, usually when they have come to the attention of the police on a related matter, such as disorderly or offensive behaviour. For example, drinking in a public place could result in a prison sentence of up to 6 months and/or a fine up to QAR3,000 (£736).
Alcohol is available only at licensed hotel restaurants and bars, and expatriates living in Qatar can obtain alcohol on a permit system. Don’t carry alcohol around with you (except to take it on the day of collection from the warehouse to your home). The legal drinking age in Qatar is 21, and establishments serving alcohol will ask for original photo ID upon entry.
Swearing and making rude gestures are considered obscene acts and offenders can be jailed and/or deported. Take particular care when dealing with the police and other officials.
PHOTOS AND FILMING
Be aware of cultural sensitivities when filming or photographing people and religious, military or construction sites. Some visitors attempting to film or photograph in sensitive areas have been arrested. If in doubt, seek permission.
There are strict privacy laws in Qatar. Posting material (including videos and photographs) online that appear to insult, slander or are culturally insensitive, may be considered a crime punishable under Qatari law. Individuals have been detained, prosecuted and/or convicted for posting this type of material.
Importing pornography, pork products and religious books into Qatar is illegal. All luggage is scanned at Hamad International Airport Arrivals Hall. DVDs and videos may be examined, censored and confiscated.
Qatar law also prohibits the importation, sale and purchase of electronic cigarettes, liquids and other similar products (eg electronic shisha pipes). The law applies regardless of quantity and intended use. Customs officials may seize and confiscate any such items found entering the country by any means, including in passengers’ luggage or sent by post.
You should dress modestly when in public, including while driving. Women must cover their shoulders and avoid wearing short skirts. Both men and women are advised not to wear shorts or sleeveless tops, when going to government buildings, health care facilities or malls. If you do not dress modestly, you may be asked to leave or be denied entry to these locations.
Living together whilst unmarried is prohibited in Qatar, and sex outside of marriage, regardless of whether this is same sex couples or opposite sex couples, is illegal. This can lead to arrest and a potential court case where the judgement can include a fine, a custodial sentence and deportation once the sentence is complete. This is especially so where the behaviour has caused offence. See Local laws and customs page.
Due to the laws on sex outside marriage, if you become pregnant outside marriage, both you and your partner could face imprisonment and/or deportation. Doctors will ask for proof of marriage during ante-natal checks. An unmarried woman who gives birth in Qatar may also encounter problems when registering the birth of the child in Qatar, and could be arrested, imprisoned or deported. To get a birth certificate from the Qatari authorities, you must provide a marriage certificate and the authorities may compare the date of the marriage against the estimated date of conception.
Homosexual behaviour is illegal in Qatar. See our information and advice page for the LGBT community before you travel.
Financial crimes, including fraud, giving somebody a cheque which bounces (including post-dated and ‘security cheques’) and non-payment of bills (for example hotel bills or car hire) can result in imprisonment and/or a fine and deportation in Qatar. Bank accounts and other assets may also be frozen. You may also be liable for cheques that you have signed on behalf of a company.